I am trying to remember exactly when it happened, four or five years ago, Michelle alerted me to an amazing author series hosted by the DMA. We try to pick one each year to go see. We haven't bombed yet. Some have been filled with humor, other have been more serious, but all have some life nugget involved. Last night was no exception and perhaps had even a few more than usual.
1.) In an age when we are acutely aware of the effects of bullying, it is important to help our children develop a thick skin towards people who put them down and belittle them out of meanness, and yet remain open and accessible to those who love and care about them.
2.) Children have a lot of concerns about what kind of world they will inherit from us. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. We are in a position to make policies to do something about it, they are not. No matter what we believe, delivering the most healthy planet possible into their hands matters.
3.). One of my favorite stories of a personal nature was about her grandmother Ginger. Ginger spent a lot of her childhood being abandoned. At age 8, Ginger was given two train tickets, one for herself and one for her two year old sibling, to make the two day journey from the East coast to Los Angles alone to live with her Grandparents. When Ginger was about to turn 14, she was told she could go to work and be responsible for herself. Ginger's perspective, she was blessed to have been born in the US. Even growing up poor with adversity, it was her right as a citizen to receive a free public education. Being poor is a setback. Being poor and uneducated is almost insurmountable. Adversity leaves time for little else. Chelsea brought up a beautiful point instilled in her by her Grandmother. Her privilege allowed her time to focus on helping others. She could do anything she wanted to with her life, but it needed to involve thinking beyond herself and giving service.
4). Being the daughter of successful parents did not put pressure on her to do something with her life in near the way being a Mom has.
5). People ask her all the time if she plans to run for office because of her last name. She thinks this should not be a question reserved for the children of famous politicians. It should be a question we ask each other. A question we ask ourselves. We forget there is so much within our control at the local level. Perhaps this is because Civics is not being taught to children in elementary and junior high but it should be. Recycling stars at the local level. Changes in the criminal justice system start at the local level. My kids have totally got the three branches of our government down. But last night I realized they don't know about district attorneys, the school board, city council, it goes on and on.
All and all, It's Your World may be geared toward youth, but the message to get informed, get inspired, and get going, is one we can all use.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
I usually try not to post a lot of detail when the gurkins are sick. Kids, as my husband says, are Petri dishes of ick. It really isn't news, it is just part of everyday life for anyone with children. However, their current virus warrants a mention. I have named it The Dickens virus. My daughters are truly like the urchins in those sad depressing Dickens tales. The ones sitting dirty and forlorn in an orphanage with a constant, nagging cough. That was our house yesterday. Seriously, I could see the room turning sepia, with cobwebs and soot starting to manifest. Soon, John was going to come out wearing a worn out top hat and tell me Mister Scrooge was about to cut his pay and force him into an offshore data center for the next six months in the most crowded, un-airconditioned bit of Bangladesh.
I had to get the girls to the doctor quickly to avoid this fate. This meant they had to be unwrapped from the blankets and crumbs they were festering in. Clothes had to be found. Even sick, nude under a blanket is frowned upon in the doctor's office. My family has a habit of taking a bath and opting to air dry for hours afterward. I am just as bad as the children. At 2pm yesterday there was not a one of us with clothing on. I mentioned to John that we were weirdos. What other family of four is scattered throughout the house on a Tuesday afternoon in such a state? John assured me there were others. "In a world of 7.5 billion people, we cannot be the only couple sitting in the bath, discussing curtains for our van, with sick naked children wrapped up in covers and cracker crumbs, elsewhere in the house."
We arrived at the doctor's office in a magnificent coughing fit, to which no crook of the arm was going to contain all the vile air and bits of phlegm determined to escape. The nurse promptly contained all our cooties in room number 3, aka, the palo duro Canyon room. Helen, looked at the mural on the wall. "Mom, do you think that is the Grand Canyon?" "Well," I said, "this clinic is called Lone Star. They have a whole Texas theme going. I bet it is palo duro Canyon." The nurse confirmed this and proceeded to take vital signs between coughs and Helen trying to tell us about the 7 rock layers we were looking at. "Helen," said the nurse, "any diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or lack of appetite?" "No," said Helen, "just non-stop coughing but more importantly, do you see this layer right here?" she points to a strip of color on the mural. "this is Hermit Shale, it is around 265 million years old and contains fossils of reptiles and amphibians along with ferns and other plant life." Apparently the damn Dickens virus was preventing Helen from participating in a group video about the geological history of the Grand Canyon and contributing her layer to the project.
Next Lauren is quizzed on her bodily functions. She shakes her head no. "Lauren I say, are you sure no diarrhea?" The night before I had enjoyed another opportunity to perfect my skills with the new super plunger. This time, it was Lauren's toilet that had gone bad. The usual gross suspects were involved in the purge but there was one odd addition, sprinkles, the type you put on cupcakes, and not just a few. There seemed to be millions of them. I tried to find out details. I yelled. I complained. In the end, Lauren walked into the bathroom, patted me on the back mid-plunge and said, "I love you Mom. Thank you for dealing with this." Then she turned around and went back to bed. I knew I could make her stand on hot coals and get no more information. That was her final word on the subject.
So, it was confirmed for the nurse, the Dickens virus had yet to effect appetite or bowels. It did produce low grade fevers and the never ending cough. Accompanied by lots of mucus. Some of which Helen pointed out in Lauren's hair. She then tried to pick it out for Lauren while telling her how gross she was to have snot in her hair. I mentioned that Helen has a lot more hair than Lauren and an extra day of being sick so the probability of her having snot in her hair was even greater. At that point she bails on Lauren and starts inspecting her own 3ft of tangles. The nurse, who I do not believe is particularly fond of our family (She always plants an unnatural smile on her face when we show up), happily excuses herself from the snot expedition.
I sit in the room for a few minutes alone with the girls who are now coughing uncontrollably again from the exertion of combing through their hair. I have this funny visual in my head as the doctor walks in of being in a racket ball room with germ balls being hurled in every direction, bouncing off the walls and hitting me......and now, the doctor. I apologize for the exploding germ balls. "Don't worry," she says, "we are never really affected by them." Our pediatrician is about my age accept that she is gorgeous without being high maintenance and she has one of those gravely cool voices like Demi Moore. If John had any idea what he was missing, he would suddenly want to help out by taking the kids to all their appointments. After looking at their charts and trying to talk to them through the coughing spell, she says "Good God, have they been like this all day?" "Yep." She listens to their lungs for a long time making sure no creaking or wheezing escapes her. All the vitals get a clean bill but the Dickens effect is starting to take its toll. "I think this is a really nasty virus. I will prescribe inhalers because obviously something is really irritating their bronchial tubes but keep doing what you are doing because it isn't going into their lungs. If it gets worse, I mean, the cough couldn't get much worse, it is non-stop, but if it continues like this, we will put them on steroids."
It is at that moment the doctor coughs. The room goes sepia. She is looking around, I know she sees them now, flying from the mouths of my sweet children. "I.....," she says, "that had to be psychosomatic." She coughs again. I cough. The kids have never stopped coughing. She seems suddenly anxious to leave us. "I will get that prescription going for the inhalers. Don't want you to have to wait. Go ahead and take that box of tissue you have been getting tissues from. Girls, feel better." And she is gone. We sit a little confused. Our doctor is known for hanging out, asking about school, she has the most personable bed side manner ever, but not today. I could feel the office holding its breath as we walked down the hall. I am almost certain I caught a whiff of Lysol as the door shut behind us. On the upside, the get out of school free note covered 3 days and I was told, "If it looks like you need the rest of the week, no need to come by, just give us a call and we will fax another note to the school."
You know you are extra Petri when not even the Doctor's office wants your cooties.